How to get the smell of curry out of furniture (a personal journey)

I just bought this cute little vintage recliner off of Craigslist. I knew it came from a non-smoking home, but when we got it back to the house the smell of curry was pretty obvious. Now, I love (love,love) curry. I put it on my popcorn. I love the way it smells, I love the way it tastes. But the scent of it, so strong on a piece of furniture right next to my nose, isn’t a smell that makes for a good napping spot. And we all know that’s what recliners are for, right?

So I set off to ask Google about how to get the smell of curry out of furniture and this is what I found:

Sunshine: I’ve recently come to really respect sunshine as an incredible disinfectant. It makes sense. If we sterilize surgical instruments with UV light, why wouldn’t sunshine do the same? Obviously not to the same level as a scalpel, but it must be good for freshening fabric, right? I have the top/back of the recliner sitting out in the sun right now. We’ll see.

Febreeze: Eh, not so much. After bathing the chair in the strongest pet formula I could find, it did nothing on the first couple rounds. At the suggestion of a neighborhood upholstery cleaner, I’ll keep trying.

Activated charcoal: Tried and tested, activated charcoal works better to absorb odors than baking soda. Sprinkle all over the fabric, let it sit for a day or two, beat it out and vacuum it up. I’ll be adding this to the arsenal as of tomorrow.

I placed a phone call to Dunne Cleaning in Westchester at the recommendation of our friend Victor at Brookfield Upholstery. They said there is literally nothing that can be done outside of just cycling the piece outdoors in the sun, bathed in Febreeze, over and over until the smell goes away. And that this process is going to take a long time. The issue is that you are dealing with a fragrance which is impermeated in the foam and stuffing. It’s not a surface cleaning issue, so this isn’t something you can tackle with upholstery cleaning.

Darnit. It’s such a cute chair. And if you’re going to have a recliner in your home, shouldn’t it be cute?


Frasier's Dad's Chair

Have you ever tackled this problem? I’d like to know what worked for you in the comments below.